In a bid to say, ‘thank you’ and ease the burden of the pandemic on front-line staff, London football club community trusts & foundations, including Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), and Premier League legends have delivered a six-a-side football tournament as part of their ongoing package of support for the NHS.
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust represented CACT in the London United Tournament, with both the men’s and women’s teams narrowly missing out on the semi-finals of the competition.
Following local tournaments held by each of the football clubs, 19 teams made it to the finals of the men’s and women’s competitions, with NHS staff from over 20 of London’s hospitals and trusts competing on the day.
Winners of the men’s competition were Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust (West Middlesex University Hospital), who were representing Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, and, the women’s champions were The Whittington Hospital, who represented Arsenal in the Community.
Fresh from Soccer Aid was England and Premier League star, Joe Cole, with his 11 Foundation having a lead role in proceedings alongside London United, which consists of London’s 14 football clubs. The 39-year-old said:
"It was an honour and privilege for me and the 11 Foundation to be part of the United for NHS in London event. It was a great gesture from the London professional football clubs to show a collective appreciation to NHS staff from across the capital.”
Carl Krauhaus, Head of Early Help & Prevention at Charlton Athletic Community Trust, added:
“We’re very proud that both the men’s and women’s Oxleas teams who narrowly missed out on the semi-finals of the London United tournament. Our partnership with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust is very important, particularly their work to help us deliver our mental health programmes. We would like to thank the NHS staff for their support in our programmes over the years, and we hope you enjoyed the tournament!”
Hospital staff had been training with the capital’s football clubs in the build-up to the finals in preparation for the tournament and it was the latest of many ways London’s footballing community has helped to boost morale during the pandemic.
It’s hoped that this six-a-side tournament will be the first of many collaborations between London’s football clubs and the National Health Service. With the joint ambition of promoting physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, both organisations can together create positive social change for the future.
Freddie Hudson, Arsenal in the Community and Chair of London United, remarked: “London football club’s foundations have worked closely with NHS staff for many years through a range of community health initiatives. The pandemic has placed enormous strain on these brilliant and dedicated people so London United would like to bring them together through football to say thank you and show our appreciation.”